Eyes Ahead to Fitbloggin

So here we are, in the thick of winter in Minnesota. It’s cold and it’s been “dark” here for what seems like eternity.  It’s dark when I get up for work most mornings, and the sun in setting, or set when I leave work.  The “real feel” temp this week was -33 when I went to work this week.  Key in the ignition of the car and I closed my eyes and hoped as it cranked hard, and then eventually purred to life.

Realistically I know the daylight is lasting a bit longer everyday, as I can see the sun out of my office window a little higher each day.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am inching my way into the anniversary of the”jump” that changed my life.  You have to jump before you can soar, or fall flat on your face as the case was the first time.  Last year when I left my job it could not have come at a more critical time.  I truly was at the end of a truly frayed rope, that had been tied and retied so many times. I as a shell of a person.

I was so afraid that in leaving my job that I would not be able to make it to Fitbloggin in Savannah.  Fitbloggin is Family.  I needed my family.  I needed my family more than ever after quitting.  When I attended Fitbloggin in Portland, I knew I needed to follow my heart and get thing in order… I didn’t attend the whole conference in Portland.  I spent some time connecting with actual family… that got me to my center… any a year later in Savannah, I cried when I saw my fit-family… and I cried as they departed, I held back sobs in the cab on the way to the airport in Savannah.

Savannah Fitbloggin provided me with the reinforcement I needed to know that I was on the right path.  Coffee and quiet heartfelt conversations, laughter so hard that it gives you a headache and the spins.  Hugs from Mickey Mouse… I mean Cmon… where else do you get a sense of belonging and acceptance no matter what choice you are making because it is what is best for you.  Even now thinking about Fitbloggin I get misty eyed.

This summer brings the opportunity to travel to Denver for the “family reunion” this year.  I can’t wait to see everyone again.  I’ve never been to Denver, just as I had never been to Savannah or Portland.  One of the great things about Fitbloggin the last few years is that it has been moving around. This allows us to see different cities and experience different things.  More than that it allows people from different parts of the country to get to the conference, that couldn’t based on the previous location.

One of my fears again taking the job I have now is that I wouldn’t have vacation to get away for Fitbloggin in June… right now my eyes are on the PTO accrual prize to get my 24 hours accrued so I can put in my request so I can have Thursday, Friday and Monday off (because who want’s to go back to work on a Monday!) I will have the time in, despite having to serve Federal Jury Duty in March, so I will be there.

I can’t wait to get #AllTheHugs and have #AllTheFeelings.  I have been working on my goals that I set for myself during the #JustTrollin session hardcore for the last few weeks and I am actually seeing results.  Now that I am finally in a stable environment with my job where I feel secure I am getting “into the flow.”  I want results by the time I reappear at Fitbloggin even if I am the only one seeing the results of my work.  The changes I have made I don’t know that I would be as comfortable with without my friends. It’s time to thank everyone!

Are you coming to <a href”http://www.fitbloggin.com”>Fitbloggin</a&gt;? If you haven’t been before you don’t need to be afraid, people are VERY welcoming.  Plus you can always come find me! 😀

#fitbloggin Photo recap!

Okay, so I am lazy… I admit it… The rest of my fitbloggin recap is just going to be the photos off my camera as I was finally able to get them downloaded this morning… and then I will photo recap my whirl-wind tour of the coast too!

FitblogginRoomies

Kris, Liz, & Mer. Fitbloggin Roomies

light fixture

Light fixture reminded me of a Jellyfish

SoyJoy Sponsor Table

Soy Joy Sponsor table

Reebok Sponsor Table

Reebok Sponsor Table (SHOES!!!!)

JumpSport Sponsors!

Jumpsport Trampoline! Sponsor table!

Start of Swag!

And then there is the start of the Swag…

Amazing Fitbloggin13 Staff working hard at registration

The awesome Fitbloggin13 staff!

Killer Posters!

Signage so we don’t miss stuff!

One of the elevator lobbies at our beautiful hotel.

The elevator lobbies were beautiful and calm.

our swanky Hotel

And the hotel was Swanky!

Lunch

Lunch before the fashion show, Fun clique-mixer! Tables were labeled with different things you were encouraged to meet new people. I sat at the Midwest table

meow

Meow

final breakfast. :(

Breakfast the last morning

Kenlie and Dani!!

Kenlie and Dani being their Rockstar selves!

Mer's leftover Voodoo Doughnuts

Mer’s leftover Voodoo doughnuts!

Voodoo Aftermath Liz

Liz’s Leftover Voodoo’s!

lobby flowers

Flowers in the lobby of the hotel!

Delta

Sadness…. Is it really time to go.

Goodbye

See ya Next Year Fitbloggin…. Good Bye Portland!

#Fitbloggin Friday!

My brain is yelling at me because I have not recapped my #fitbloggin trip yet. I know there is nothing forcing me to do so… My computer has not let me pull the photos from the dead batteried camera yet… mostly because I have to attach an external keyboard to the computer to get the keyboard to work… its in desperate need to fixing. I can do most everything these days from my iPad… but anyway. Fitbloggin Friday!!!
You all know I sleep some REALLY screwy hours, and moving myself to pacific time from central time (so -2hours) only added to the weirdness of my schedule. One of my roomies came in somewhere late Thursday night/Friday morning from a bar… shortly after that I was up… for the day. I had the iPad in the bed with me just incase that was going to happen. I pulled my Blanket up over my head and watched tv for a few hours as truly I did not figure I would find anyone up wandering around at 3 am. (In hindsight I will just take my iPad and hang out on the floor where the conference is taking place incase someone else is up!) Friday was going to be my BIG conference day. I knew there were TONS of sessions about to go down. I had wanted to attend ReeBok’s cardio dance class, however I also knew that I NEEDED to go to Zumba. they were not running at the same time, so my original plan was to do both, feel the burn, but with my legs the way they are and the threat of the tendon rupture on the horizon I skipped out on cardio dance and had a leisurely breakfast with my my new and old friends.
The hotel (The Nines in Portland) did a freakin Amazing job with food. They provided us with egg fritatta, bacon (which was probably some of, if not THE best bacon I’ve ever had), potatoes, fresh fruit, cereal, pastries, coffee, tea, juices. Everything was amazing. It was so easy to find something tasty to eat, and it was all hot, even though it was served buffet style which was nice.
I rushed off to the first session on my MUST NOT MISS list for the day which was Dealing With Injuries I was a few minutes late to the session because I couldn’t find the room, which made me feel horrible, but that is apparently an acceptable thing to come and go from the sessions.
I linked above tot he live blog of the session, I refrained from taking notes during the conference for just this reason. Fitbloggin is AMAZING because they have live bloggers in the sessions. This made me completely comfortable in my decision to live the conference, and be in the moments, listen, respond, not be on my phone, or in my notebook. Next year I will be leaving my study supplies at home altogether! This session made me a bit teary to be honest. I felt the pain each of my fellow athletes felt dealing with injuries, new and old that kept them from meeting their goals, or feeling whole. I felt less alone in that room than I have in a long time. I know that in my experiences dealing with something that is a genetic issue will leave me on a different playing field than most. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that there are so many things that I want to do that i just will not be able to do like everyone else does, however I draw strength from the fact that I can find a way to do them my own way. Listening to people talk of the ways that they have found to keep going was inspiring.
For me I will never run again. The talk of people who run 5k’s 10k’s half marys and more was a bit depressing because i will never be able to get a medal for crossing the finish line for something like that… but you know what… I can do all those virtual races I want, and use the elliptical, or the pool and do them that way. *deep breath* We needed tissues in that room. Next year I’ll bring enough for all the sessions to have boxes of tissues.

The next session I was headed for was ZUMBA!!!!!! I was scared… and excited! I have wanted to try Zumba for so long but I was so afraid I would fail… I did not fail… i may not have been super coordinated but I kicked ass! Again the live blog is linked above, and I have actually blogged once already about my experience with this Zumba class. It broke me. There was a change in me with this class, I don’t know if it was the fitbloggin tribe effect, or that I finally did something that scared me or what but it was exactly what this trip was about. Just watch what happens next. If you want to see a bit about what this Zumba session was like instead of reading the liveblog (because you truly can’t even get a sense of the energy from text check out Martinus 300lbs and Running’s Recap which includes a video! (I am visible in the video). I had to laugh when I saw this video because when I saw him videoing during class I got so freakin nervous and then decided so what!! It was empowering. I have to admit when Sue pointed at me during class, I about lost my shit! I was doing my thing and having fun and apparently I was doing it right 😀 . It was awesome!!
After Zumba was our Midmorning snack break! The sponsor was NatureMade Vitamins they were making snowcones!!! Just perfect after a hot and sweaty zumba workout. the cold ice was just what the doctor ordered. I had my ice with almost no syrup since I am just not a super sugary person. I also chugged down a carton of chocolate milk with Team Refuel which was another sponsor of Fitbloggin I was relaxing a bit before I headed off to hit the showers since my roomie Mer was also in Zumba and had actually wanted to hit a session that was before my next must not miss session!
After showers and a bit of introvert recharge time it was time for a fitbloggin first… a fashion show!! Now as most of you know by now I am not the most fashion forward person. I spent most of my adult life in jeans and mens pocket t-shirts. We do not need to show that I have a shape, we just need to hide that mess! As I have become smaller things have changed a bit, but I still pull out a pocket tee now and then… (but you will note that there is a photo of Kenlie and I in the same shirt… how embarrassing! we wore the same thing! Oh NO!) Anyway the fashion show was put together by Emmie of Authentically Emmie Who I admire to a crazy degree! (when I saw her in the lobby on Thursday I was like OHMIGOSH I KNOW YOU!!! And I about died when she knew who I was. It was so awesome to see so many women of all different shapes and sizes rocking out in all different kinds of clothing. Several women were even modeling bras! I know I would totally be down for that.. (stay tuned) I have to give them all props for putting themselves out there. It was awesome. The fashion show took place during lunch, which was also provided by the hotel (deli meat, roasted portobello mushrooms, some salads, fruit).
After the fashion show was the group photo, taken by CarrieD photography. i love group photos. Usually I would duck out of them, or make sure I am hidden, or somewhere that I can crop myself out of them easily. It is a self esteem thing. This time I just looked for a place I could sit, since squatting is not an option and didn’t really budge too much as people filled in around me. Turns out I ended up….. Well… Take a look for yourself…. Can you find me?

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LOL! Go figure right? I have that photo currently set as the desktop on my work computer, my tribe. I look at the photo and see so many faces I talked to, and so many I didn’t get to, which is a shame but is not surprising.
Next up on my MUST NOT MISS list turned out to be a swing and a miss… it was the Reebok How to find the perfect shoe session. I was on my way when I stoped to chat with Emmie, and someone that was there who was sponsored by Quest Protein Bars Earlier in the day he had slipped me their latest flavor creation WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY!!! After finding out what a mega fan I was. (This flavor has just become available on the website, and should hopefully be in stores soon) It’s amazing by the way, real freakin berries in it! Anyway i chatted with them a while then headed to the session just in time for them to be wrapping up the discussion, about 15 mins ahead of schedule. :/ *insert whomp whomp sound here* Surprisingly I wasn’t at all upset due to the liveblog that I knew would be available, and also due to the fact that I got to spend some quality face to face time with people I never see outside of this event.
The afternoon Coffee break was sponsored by one of my favorite sponsors from the conference Blue Diamond Almonds They were sampling all three of the “newish” Coffee flavored almonds. Coffee, Caramel Macchiato, and Mocha! I personally have had all three before this, and LOVE THEM! I mix the three up into a big bag and eat them in the mornings for a pick me up when I don’t have coffee, or want a quick pick me up. They actually contain caffeine, and some healthy fats and protein which makes them good for you! Balanced eating right?! (I will be making a sponsor post in when I get some down time thanking everyone, and Blue Diamond will get a HUGE shout out because they kept my snacking in control for the conference!)
Sadly at this point of the day I was truly starting to crash out. I slinked off to my room and rested for a while skipping the rest of the afternoon sessions in favor of just resting and recharging. Turns out my roomies were in need of a recharge too, so sleep didn’t actually happen, but rest helps I suppose.
Dinner was on our own Friday night so Liz and I made plans to have a quiet dinner, in hopes of eating something local. Liz and I decided to visit one of the local hotels restaraunts that had some pretty stellar reviews. Bistro921 was the place we ended up at and it was incredible! We split a spinach and artichoke dip, which was amazing, it was so fresh tasting, it was nice and lemony! Each of us ordered a salad with our dinners, I got a Cesar salad, which I almost never order because it is so indulgent, and my entree was a stuffed portobello mushroom cap. Oh my goodness, I wanted to lick the plates! The food was incredible! We had such a nice time sitting and chatting about our enjoyment of the conference so far, and talked about our return next year.

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Liz will have had her baby by the time the next conference rolls around and rooming with 2 other ladies will be out of the question. I told her i would be more than willing to room with just her next year, if the conference is in the cards for her. I actually knew from the time I was at the mixer alone that i was going to return, and actually kinda thought I might prefer roomies that I didn’t know to roomies that i did know. I think it might make a more rich experience.
We stopped for some icecream at Ben & Jerrys on the way back to the hotel, I ended p tossing mine out, as after I got my single scoop I decided I wasn’t actually hungry. Listening to my body, Go Kris! While we sat at the shop, outside in the unusual heat I spotted David Who I met Thursday night at the mixer and ran over to assist him with some photography! I introduced him to Liz and we all wandered back to the hotel together. We did not want to be late for Ignite!!!
Ignite!! was super cool, It gave several people a chance to get out there and inspire and share their stories and messages with us. I had thought about submitting myself as an ignite speaker for fitbloggin13 but didn’t as I am chickenshit. However I may just do it for fitbloggin14. You never know what will happen! Believe it or not there was MORE FOOD at the ignite party, Driscolls Berries and Attune Foods had set up a parfait bar for us to have a sweet treat for dessert or before bed! They were also hosting a contest for us to win free berries! How awesome!

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I love berries and the Attune probiotic chocolate, (I am sad they don’t make the vanilla berry one anymore) i made my parfait before the presentations started, and finished it as the karaoke kicked off. I was pretty exhausted and knew Saturday was going to be a super full day during which I would leave the conference and venture to the coast of Oregon with my family whom I hadn’t seen in 17 years so I left before it got to crazy. Next year if there is karaoke… it is SO ON!!!
I headed to my room with a smile on my face, and worked on packing up my suitcase… already. Knowing full well it was going to be hard to leave this place.

Where is the recap? The photos? You’re usually so detailed!

(My recaps are going to jump around and not be chronological to my trip, you’ve been warned!) So I have returned to Minneapolis, a changed person. For those of you that shipped the last post, or haven’t had the chance to talk with me yet, Portland changed something in me. I left on this trip apprehensive about the whole thing. I wasn’t even sure why I was going anymore. I was more excited to see my family than I was about the conference. Was I scared I wold have no one to talk to was I scared I wouldn’t fit in, I’m not sure. I think I was scared my world was going to fell apart, and you know what, I was right to be scared because in Portland my world fell apart.

I deiced on my way out to Portland, despite having packed my cellphone, the iPad, a notebook pens highlighters and a camera that I wanted more than anything to be in the moment. This is something that i truly try to do all the time, I try to be an active listener, a genuine speaker, and someone who observes the big piture along with the small details. I left that stuff in my bag probably 97% of the time. While people were talking, speaking it was away. I trusted my instincts and the world around me is changing.

During Zumba I was so thankful to be able to get a spot towards the front of the class, so I could see what was going on, and on the end so if I needed to leave I could… which I didn’t. Having previously been a ballet/tap/jazz dancer my heart delighted in being in the Zumba world. I choked back the tears so many times… after class I gave Sue and Sam hugs, got a blurry photo, then rushed off to cry in private. I wasn’t sure what was going on with me. I was a bit weepy the entire rest of the day.

I blew off the farewell reception to see my family. Like life this trip came with choices to be made, difficult ones, and ones that I know shook the very foundation on which I stand. Seeing my Auntie-cousin Eva (shes like a cousin once removed or some kinda weird relationship like that, as I call it family is family we don’t need labels) was possibly the most incredible experience I have had this year. We left Portland at 1730ish and headed out to the coast! Swung thru Burgerville, where we got dinner, cheeseburger with Tillamook cheddar mmm (cheeeese!!!!) and WallaWalla Onion rings, which are something exclusive and seasonal to the area. We continued the trek to the coast, laughing plotting catching up a bit with my cousin Tyler and his fiancé Brit (whom I had also just met). We were going to cram so much life into the next few hours. The energy in the car was amazing, almost electrifying. We headed to Tillamook where we stopped off at the factory store, Tyler Brit and I ran up the steps to look at the factory area, then back down the steps thru the cheese curd sample line, where obviously you have to grab the squeaky sample then into the line for Tillamooks own Ice Cream! Eva snapped a photo of us in the Loaf Love mobile we piled back into the car and made a beeline for the coast.

As we got closer to the beach the views were amazing, not that driving thru the forest wasn’t cool, but OCEAN!!!! We were driving thru town and I saw it… the name of the same street I live on here in Minneapolis. Eva decided thats where we were getting on the beach! We turned around parked and hopped out. As soon as my sneakers hit the sand they had to come off, i flipped them off my feet as fast as i could and dug my toes in and closed my eyes. How amazing it felt. It has been years since I had sand on my feet. I walked, slowly behind my cousins toward the middle of the beach, feeling the earth under my feet, and it didn’t hurt my legs. For the first time in a long time no pain. Huh, maybe there is something there I need to explore, as the tears started welling up I hugged Tyler and Brit as Eva took a photo of the three of us on the Beach by Twin Rocks. (Rockaway Beach OR) I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, the smell of the ocean, the feeling of the sand, the tears were coming back.

We rushed back to the car. We were greeted by Pepper, the pupperdog at the house, where we switched vehicles, and Eva and I raced up the coast in her red convertible. We chatted about all manners of things. We are kindred soul spirits, and don’t think it is hokey! 17+ years have passed since we last saw each other, and our lives have led parallel. We connected thanks to Facebook because our families aren’t real good at this stuff. We went up the mountain, and watched as the sunset over the ocean. As the sunset it felt like things inside of me were shifting, like life was shifting. There is something so freeing about the coastline at sunset in a convertible, you can just leave it all behind, your laughter floats up to the heavens and your heart and soul are so free to breathe in life an energy. When we got back home the 4 of us sat around for a little while laughing and just loving on being able to do everything, and how cool it was to see each other after so many years.

Sunday morning was hard. We woke up very early it was a two hour drive back into Portland from the coast, it went by too fast. The closer to the city we got the more i didn’t want to leave the car. I started choking up as the hotel came into view, by the time it was time to get out, and have one of the lovely porters take our photo I was already crying. I cried my way to the room, I composed myself then went down to the fitbloggin floor where I found Liz, then started crying again, and again and again and again! I wanted it to stop, but I know that its so important to feel those things.

The sadness of leaving fitbloggin started to set in only after i saw the people returning from the funruns/walks. I had finally met my tribe, i had connected with my family and now it was time to shut it all down, this wasn’t fair.

Fast-forwarding just a bit, as I sat on the airplane, trying to figure out again why I was just an emotional basket case, crying yet again the best i can figure that my life, like the earth has just experienced a major tectonic plate shift, the foundation on which everything has been built was just shaken to the core and things are about to change… a lot. I am not quite sure how or why, but it’s coming and it is going to be massive.